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Hear from the candidates

On Thursday May 9, join Broke in Philly: A collaborative reporting project on economic mobility, and Media Mobilizing Project for a discussion with at-large candidates about economic inequality and issues of housing, education and criminal justice.

The forum will be moderated by a local journalist and community advocate and audience members are encouraged to join in and discuss.

Details here


Read More

About the 2019 Primary

The Citizen’s New Blood series looks at first time candidates who are trying to disrupt the system with new ideas. Check out the series here.

And check out our other coverage of the election:



In the May 21 primary

The Committee of Seventy and Chicago-based startup BallotReady have launched CivicEngine, an easy online tool that allows you to choose your candidate and print out a PDF to take with you to the polls. Simply type in your address and make your choices.

Check it out here.

Then, head to the polls on May 21st to make your choices.


Who’s Running for City Council?

The Citizen’s Guide to the many candidates on the ballot May 21

Who’s Running for City Council?

The Citizen’s Guide to the many candidates on the ballot May 21

This primary season in Philadelphia, the question is maybe not so much who’s running for City Council, as who’s not running for City Council. The list of candidates is vast, and varied; the open positions not so much. In the Democratic primary, there is one open at-large seat, and one open district seat; for the rest, incumbents—with their records, deep coffers, and name recognition—are running for reelection. In the Republican primary, both incumbents—David Oh and Al Taubenberger—are running again.

This guide is one of several out there to help you get a sense of who’s running, and what they stand for, before you head to the polls on May 21. Also check out’s guide to where candidates stand on certain issues; Committee of 70’s interviews with candidates; PhillyCam’s Video Voter Guide; and Broke in Philly’s poverty-focused questionnaire.

The rest is up to you. Your vote in this election is one of the many things you can do to help make our city better. Choose wisely, Philly, these will be your representatives for the next four years.

At-Large Democrats

Fareed Abdullah

About Abdullah: A Philly native, Abdullah says time spent in prison as a young adult turned him around, and helped him understand how better policies could create better outcomes for people in his community. He ran for office a couple times in Atlantic City, went to college for his bachelors and masters degrees, and returned home to Philly, where he says he has been a teacher, mentor and advocate—and now, a Council-at-large candidate.

Campaign issue: Abdullah’s wide-ranging platform begins with what he calls “Community Stabilization,” encompassing everything from cleaner streets to helping renters become homeowners to holding developers accountable to neighborhoods.

“My goal is to create financial wealth for communities that are underprivileged, and to create new entrepreneurial programs that will provide substantial growth for people living in poverty stricken areas.I believe that everyone deserves to partake in the American wealth system,” Abdullah says on LinkedIn

Money in campaign coffer as of 4/1/19: $1,200

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here and watch Committee of Seventy’s interview here.

Wayne Allen

About AllenA 30-year drug and alcohol counselor, Allen would be the City Councilmember with the most direct experience of the city’s opioid crisis.

Campaign IssueGenerally, better schools, more direct approach to fighting opioids, business expansion.

Money in campaign coffer: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here.

Erika Almirón

About AlmirónThe daughter of Paraguayan immigrants, Almirón is a longtime social justice activist in Philly, who most recently served as executive director of Juntos, which helped to shape Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City policy. She has also helped organize students through the Philadelphia Student Union, and women workers on the U.S./Mexico border through the American Friends Service Committee.

Campaign IssueAlmirón has a detailed platform here, focusing primarily on issues related to Philadelphians who are experiencing or are near poverty, workers rights and criminal justice. She also advocates for a Green New Deal for Philly.

“I see my venture into politics as an expansion of my organizing into a new sphere, a new way to fight for what thousands of us believe in in our amazing city I love so much. I believe all of my experience in fighting for more just policies for the people and winning has prepared me well to continue fighting for us as a city councilperson,” Almirón told Philadelphia magazine in January.

Money in campaign coffer: $65,628

Endorsements: Several unions, including SEIU and AFT2026; UniteHere!; PASNAP; Reclaim Philadelphia; 215 People’s Alliance; Liberty City; Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks; Second Generation PAC; 1st, 2nd, 9th Ward Democrats; OnePA; LOVE; Our Revolution; Working Families; MIJENTE; Pennsylvania NOW; Philadelphia NOW; the Inquirer.

Learn more about the candidate here, read more here, and watch Committee of Seventy’s interview with Almirón here.

Deja Lynn Alvarez

About AlvarezAlvarez is the first trans woman to run for City Council. She is a Latina LGBT+ activist who advocates for intersectional activism. This is her first run for City Council.

Campaign Issue: Alvarez’s focus is on creating economic opportunity, promoting a healthier Philadelphia, and improving government efficiency.

“I think for far too long we’ve had the same old, same old in politics here in Philadelphia. I’m tired of seeing people try to represent communities they couldn’t possibly understand. I think I’ve been doing the work for a long time in the community and it just started to feel like it was time for us to stop asking for a seat at the table and take our seat in City Hall,” Alvarez told Philadelphia Gay News in January.

Money in campaign coffer: $3,544

Endorsements: Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club; Victory Fund; State Rep. Brian Sims; Trans United; RePoint Philadelphia Historical Preservation PAC

Learn more about the candidate here and read more here.

Ethlind Baylor (D)

Photo: Twitter

About BaylorBaylor, a former Philadelphia Department of Prisons employee, is the vice president of AFSCME DC 47, a union that represents government employees and is on the board of trustees for Philadelphia AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization for area labor unions.

Campaign issue: Baylor’s platform emphasizes workers’ rights, fair wages, and equal representation.

“We have institutions that helped to found this country, yet we are the most impoverished major city in the country. We still struggle to provide our young people with the public education they deserve. Our communities grapple with gun violence and epidemic levels of addiction and overdose deaths, but our communities are establishing a united effort to overcome these problems,” Baylor says on her website.

Money in campaign coffer: $3,711

Endorsements: One PA Philly; AFL-CIO; but not her own union.

Learn more about the candidate here and read more here.

Vinny Black (D)

About Black: A union ironworker, is running what he calls a grassroots, unfunded campaign. His slogan is “Vinny Black Got Your Back.”

Campaign issue: Economic stability for all Philadelphians.

“For a lot of people, Philadelphia is not working for them,” Black says. “We are talking about an inclusive economy where people can enjoy the minimums—own a home, put food on the table.”

Money in campaign coffer: $0

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here and watch the Committee of Seventy interview here.

Latrice Bryant

Photo: Ballotpedia

About BryantBryant worked 22 years in Philly politics, including as a former legislative aide for Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. She caused a stir in 2009, when Channel 29 ran a segment about her doing personal business on city time. Bryant has also worked as a teacher.

Campaign IssueBryant wants to focus on constituent services.

“I’m running for City Council to bring back hope to our city, to bring back constituent services at its best. I believe that the City of Philadelphia is a great city and it deserves the best services that I can provide as a councilwoman,” Bryant told Committee of Seventy.

Money in campaign coffer: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here and watch their interview with Committee of Seventy here.

Devon Cade

Photo: KYW Radio

About CadeA former audit investigator, Cade made waves in March when he challenged 30 City Council candidates claiming they had forged signatures on their petitions to run. He dropped his challenge due to health concerns after he collapsed in court.

Campaign issue: Cade wants to raise wages for city employees, increase the minimum wage for private employers, and lower SEPTA ticket fees.

“Sadly Philadelphia remains the poorest major city in the US—with low wages. We need to return to honesty, great times and opportunities to become a great place to live, work and enjoy the best quality of life,” Cade wrote on his CrowdPAC campaign.

Money in campaign coffer: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Find out more about the candidate here.

Bobbie Curry

Curry seems to be still running—they’re on the ballot—but there is no information.

Justin DiBerardinis

About DiBerardinisDiBerardinis—son of former City Managing Director Mike D.—is a former legislative director for Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, and most recently Director of Programs and Partnerships at Bartram’s Garden. From Quiñones-Sánchez, DiBerardinis—part of the Citizen’s New Blood series—says he learned how forging your own political path and finding common ground can work together; at Bartram’s, he developed an abiding passion for public spaces and shared experiences in Philly.

Campaign Issue: DiBerardinis wants to create a “New Deal” for job creation and economic growth and affordable housing. He also wants to rewrite the city charter. His full platform can be found here.

“This is the most exciting moment in Philadelphia in my lifetime, because we have the chance to adopt a generationally-forward looking platform and take on big challenges together,” DiBerardinis told the Citizen.

Money in campaign coffer: $190,805

Endorsements: Democratic Executive Committee; 2nd and 8th Ward Dems; Sierra Club, Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, PhillySetGo, Reclaim Philadelphia, several unions including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, 215 People’s Alliance, RePoint, 5th Square

Learn more about the candidate here, read about them here and watch their interview here.

Joseph Diorio

DiOrio seems to be still running—he’s on the ballot—but there is no information.

Allan Domb, Incumbent


About DombLongtime Center City “Condo King,” Domb is a first term Councilmember who has also been one of the most newsworthy the last four years. He has been the loudest voice of fiscal responsibility on Council, particularly during the scandal last year over the City’s missing $33 million, and has been a citywide proponent of financial literacy education in schools. (He also donates his salary to the school district.) Domb favors City Council term limits and is rumored to be considering a run for Mayor in four years—assuming he is first re-elected in 2019.

“As he seeks a second term, Allan looks forward to building on the progress and accountability he has fought for on City Council and to working with constituents to build a Philadelphia in which everyone can succeed,” Domb says on his website.

Money in campaign coffer: $176,425

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; Philadelphia 3.0; PhillySetGo; several politicians, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Rep. Dwight Evans; Philadelphia Interfaith Coalition; several unions, including Transport Workers Local Union 234.

Learn more about the candidate here, and watch the Committee of 70 interview here.

Wayne Dorsey

Dorsey seems to be still running—he’s on the ballot—but there is no information.

Beth Finn

Photo: Facebook

About Finn: An organizer of the Women’s March in Philadelphia, Finn was moved to get involved during Donald Trump’s candidacy, when he started talking about registering Muslims. She touts that experience as giving her an inside look at the city’s diversity, and inequity, and the power of civic action. Finn has a long career as a project manager for technology companies.

Campaign issues: The centerpiece of Finn’s agenda is creating a public bank, to manage the City’s money, and ensure it is well-spent. She also stresses fixing schools, criminal justice reform, reducing violence, raising the minimum wage, and a Green New Deal.

“As a proud community organizer, I know what it takes to make change happen. I am ready to bring my fight and passion to City Hall to ensure every Philadelphian’s voice is heard,” she says.

Money in campaign coffer: $6,480

Endorsements: Philadelphia NOW

Learn more about the candidate here and read more here.

Sandra Dungee Glenn

Photo: Facebook

About Glenn: Glenn was appointed by Mayor John Street to the city’s Education Board and then to the School Reform Commission, and was appointed chairperson of the SRC by then Gov. Ed Rendell. She also served under Rendell on the state’s Board of Education. Meanwhile, Glenn was president of the American Cities Foundation for over 12 years.

Campaign issues: Glenn’s platform focuses on helping move people out of poverty through more jobs, increasing the minimum wage, more affordable housing, and education.

“Sandra believes that it’s time we stop accepting the status quo in our city and that we need to stand up for Philadelphians who are being left behind as our city grows,” she says on Facebook.

Money in campaign coffer: $0

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here and read more here.

Derek Green, Incumbent

Photo: Twitter

About Green: A former staffer to Councilwoman Marian Tasco, Green is a first term at-large Councilman who also worked in the City’s law department, and as an Assistant District Attorney. He and his wife are advocates for people with autism, and fundraisers for Autism Speaks. In Council, Green has introduced legislation around tourism, medical marijuana dispensaries, and to increase penalties for short dumping. Recently, he has tried to push for local election reform, including public funding of campaigns.

“I will continue to provide the leadership that is necessary to better represent the values and priorities of the people of Philadelphia,” he says on Facebook.

Money in campaign coffer: $190,435

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; 5th Ward; PA Young Democrats; PFT; Millenials In Action PAC; Philadelphia 3.0

Learn more about the candidate here, watch them on Committee of 70 here and on PhillyCAM here.

Helen Gym, Incumbent

Photo: Twitter

About GymBefore being elected to her first term to City Council as a grassroots candidate four years ago, Gym was best known as a public school advocate, who co-founded Parents United for Public Education, and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Though Gym has said she is against new charter schools in the city, sue is also a founder of a charter school—Folk Arts Cultural Treasure School in Chinatown. Gym has also been an advocate for the city’s Asian American population, helping to shape policy on behalf of Asian American students after a series of racial incidents at South Philadelphia High School, and fighting against proposals to put both a stadium and a casino in Chinatown. A progressive voice on Council, she has worked towards better pay and fairer hours for workers, tenant rights, reducing youth homelessness and better staffing in schools.

“I’m running for City Council At-Large because Philadelphia needs a proven champion who won’t stop fighting for parents, families and working people everywhere. Together, let’s make 2019 our political moment,” she says.

Money in campaign coffer: $410,830

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; Reclaim Philadelphia; 5th Square; RePoint; Philadelphia NOW; the Inquirer.

Learn more about the candidate here.

Ogbonna Hagins

About Hagins: An environmental activist who has been dubbed “Philly Green Man,” Hagins calls himself a scrapper and recycler who now wants to “clean up” City Hall.

Campaign issues: The environment, mostly, also fair education funding and social entrepreneurship.

“I’m here for serious change for Philadelphia,” he says.

Money in campaign coffer: $1,250

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here.

Asa Khalif

Photo: Twitter

About Khalif: A Philly native, Khalif says he has been protesting since he was 13 years old—against a corner store in his neighborhood—but it was the death of his cousin Brandon Tate Brown at the hands of Philly police in 2014 that really pushed him into social activism. He went on to become one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania, and has been at the forefront of many recent protests, including shutting down a City Hall press conference to draw attention to another police shooting, putting a KKK hood on the Rizzo statue, and confronting Rep. Brian Sims about racism in the Gayborhood. He would be the ultimate outsider inside if elected.

Campaign issues: Helping the poor and working class, police reform, raising the minimum wage, repealing the soda tax.

“We’re not career politicians. We don’t kiss babies. The members of City Council have forgotten about black and brown and poor people. They are afraid to speak out about police brutality. They are afraid to say trans lives matter,” Khalif told Philadelphia magazine.

Money in campaign coffer: $283

Endorsements: N/A

Learn about the candidate here, read more here and here, and watch them on Committee of 70 here.

Katherine Gilmore Richardson

Photo: LinkedIn

About Richardson: The Vice President of the Young Philly Democrats and former chief of staff to Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown, Richardson has a deep inside knowledge of how Council works. Under Brown, she helped work on what she calls “quality of life” bills for seniors, families and children.

Campaign issue: Education, gun violence, food insecurity, housing instability and living wage.

“Education, gun violence, food insecurity, housing instability, living wage — the list goes on and on. We have a moral obligation to treat each of these challenges with the urgency they deserve,” she told Philly Mag.

Money in campaign coffer as of 4/1/19: N/A

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; several unions, including PFT; Run for Something; She Can Win; Philly Set Go, Philadelphia NOW, the Inquirer.

Learn more about the candidate here and read more about them here.

Adrian Rivera-Reyes

Photo: Facebook

About Rivera-Reyes: Born in Puerto Rico, Rivera-Reyes is a cancer researcher at Penn, who helped with efforts to unionize graduate students, and first got involved in electoral politics through Penn’s Science Policy and Diplomacy Group, which took him to D.C. to advocate for tax reform and student issues; he then worked as a policy advisor to Molly Sheehan’s campaign for Congress. Rivera-Reyes, a Democratic Socialist who pulled the first ballot position, would be the first of many things if elected to Council: Millennial, openly LGBT, scientist.

Campaign issues: LGBT issues, Green New Deal, economic justice, housing and education reform

“In a city where 65 percent of Philadelphia is under 44 we have no millennials on City Council. In a city where members of the LGBTQ+ community are still persecuted, we have never had an openly gay person on City Council. And with the clock ticking on issues like climate change and the opioid epidemic, we have nobody with a scientific or medical background on City Council,” he says.

Money in campaign coffer: $10,750

Endorsements: 5th Square; LGBTQ Victory Fund; Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks; Sierra Club, Latino Victory Fund

Learn more about the candidate here and read more about him here and watch him on Committee of 70 here.

Eryn Santamoor

About Santamoor: Part of the Citizen’s New Blood series, Eryn Santamoor, a Saratoga Springs native, is a Nutter administration veteran and policy nerd who, as deputy managing director was one of the driving forces behind the adoption and implementation of a citywide 311 service. She wrote the most comprehensive plan of anyone running for office in Philly this year—a thoroughness she says to expect from her if elected to Council.

Campaign Issues:  Santamoor’s action plan includes economic development ideas like expanding the Sustainable Business Tax Credit and reforming the real estate tax abatement, improvements to city services like modernizing trash collection and actually paving our streets, making the Inspector General permanent and independent, and requiring Council to disclose its annual itemized budget.

“I’ve always been a compassionate and empathetic human being,” Santamoor told the Citizen. “But my own experiences have led me to believe we need policies that have an understanding of what people are going through.”

Money in campaign coffer: $192,820

Endorsements:  Former Mayor Michael Nutter, Former Governor Ed Rendell, 5th Square, Philadelphia 3.0,  Transport Workers Union local 234, 5th, 8th & 15th Wards, Philly Set Go, PA Now, Ascend PAC, Sierra Club PA, Millennials In Action, the Inquirer.

Learn about the candidate here, read more here and here, and watch her on Committee of Seventy here.

Edwin Santana

About Santana: A former middle school special ed teacher, Santana now runs See-It-Through, a company he founded to push educational and social achievement for young men of color, particularly focusing on STEM skills and community service. He says his work has exposed him to the harsh realities of poverty in Philadelphia, which has inspired him to run for Council. In 2016, Santana ran for state rep in the 192nd District.

Campaign issues: Santana calls his platform a “five star platform,” meaning every neighborhood will have five star schools and jobs. To do that, he wants to invest in black and brown neighborhoods, bring more services to youth and seniors, and reduce the pollution and toxins in neighborhoods where the effects of climate change are most acutely felt.

“My goal is to attack poverty through education and small businesses,” he said last month.

Money in campaign coffer: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here.  

Isaiah Thomas

About Thomas: Thomas, who is running for Council for the third time, is the executive director of Philadelphia Freedom Schools and head basketball coach at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter Schools. He says he’s running because he believes that the quality of life for the average citizen has not gotten better and that local government does not address the needs of the city’s young people.

Campaign issues: Thomas advocates for improving school infrastructure, increasing extracurricular activities, and creating changes in school curriculum to better prepare students for higher education. He also hopes to address criminal justice reform and foster economic development through incentive programs and work-readiness programs.

“I’m running for City Council at large because I see myself as a champion for poor people and people of color in Philadelphia,” he said in an interview with Philly Mag.

Money in campaign coffer: $69,240

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee, Reclaim Philadelphia, several unions including AFL-CIO and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Millenials in Action, One PA Philly, Philadelphia Young Dems, Philly Set Go, State Rep. Chris Rabb, Pennsylvania Working Families

Learn more about the candidate here, read more here and here, and watch him on Committee of Seventy here.

Billy Thompson

About Thompson: Thompson is a pastor and community organizer of over 20 years who recently worked with council members, community organizations, and activists for the Fair Workweek Philadelphia campaign.

Campaign issue: Thompson’s platform focuses on strong advocacy for senior citizens, countering the city’s rapid gentrification, expanding economic opportunities and broadening equitable economic development, and developing low-income housing programs.

“Philadelphia is ready for a non-establishment and grassroots candidate who is willing to be hands on and work with community stakeholders to build a better Philadelphia,” Thompson says.

Money in campaign coffer: $1,185

Endorsements:  N/A

Learn more about the candidate on his website

Fernando Treviño

About Treviño: Treviño is a Mexican lawyer turned political organizer who has worked as a constituency outreach director for the Obama re-election campaign in Pennsylvania, as a founder of the Mayor Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs, and as a staff attorney for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More recently, he has consulted for political campaigns in the United States and Latin America. His disappointment in city government has driven him to run for City Council.

Campaign issue: Treviño’s main platform points hit a lot of different targets, including advocating for more public school funding and providing teachers with more support, eradicating stop-and-frisk, ending cash bail, a $15 minimum wage, creating an “Office of International Affairs” and creating litter-free neighborhoods.  

“From South Philly to the far Northeast, West Philly to the River, we live in one of the most powerfully diverse cities in the country. I believe it’s what makes us so tough and so strong. I’m running for city council to make sure that no matter where you come from or where you live, Philadelphia works for you,” Treviño says on his website.

Money in campaign coffer: $29,800

Endorsements:  Second Generation PAC, Latino Victory Fund; the Inquirer.

Learn more about the candidate here here, and here

Hena Veit

Photo: Facebook

About Veit: Pakistani-born, London-raised, and Philadelphian by choice, Veit is a forensic mitigation specialist with a passion for criminal justice reform. Veit cites her clients as her source of inspiration to run, especially when it comes to re-examining punitive sentences. Her bouts with homelessness and financial struggles have also made her passionate about empowering Philadelphia’s low-income communities.

Campaign issue: Veit’s platform is heavily focused on criminal justice reform. She’s pushing for reducing sentences for nonviolent criminals; dropping cash bail for most low-level crimes; road improvement projects; and repealing soda tax. She does not endorse safe injection sites as a solution to Philadelphia’s wider problem with addiction.

“I work in a field where I’m listening every day to the problems. I’m looking for solutions,” she said in an interview for the Northeast Times.

Money in campaign coffer: $6,872

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here and here. 

At-Large Republicans

Irina Goldstein

Photo: LinkedIn

About Goldstein: Goldstein—born in Ukraine—owns a fur company, which she says gives her the business acumen for politics.  

Campaign Issue: Goldstein’s platform is centered around lowering taxes for Philadelphians. She wants to lower business taxes, so small businesses can get off the ground more easily, as well as lowering the wage tax and eliminating the soda tax.

No one should ever underestimate a Philadelphian, the home of all the best underdogs, especially when it’s in the form of a little, passionate, Jewish Eastern European woman that doesn’t take no for an answer,” she says.

Money in campaign coffer: $7,304

Endorsements: N/A

Find out more about the candidate here and here.  

Bill Heeney

About Heeney: Heeney is a businessman from the Northeast who is currently serving as the ward leader for the 62nd ward. He caused a stir last year for sharing some racist posts on Facebook, which have now been taken down.

Campaign Issue: Heeney wants to lower taxes and support local businesses, as well as audit the School District of Philadelphia. He is against the construction of a safe-injection site, and wants to end Philadelphia’s status as a sanctuary city.

“We’re on our way to better days ahead,” he told the Northeast Times in November.

Money in Campaign Coffer: $15,300

Endorsements: N/A

Find out more about the candidate here. 

Drew Murray

Photo: Twitter

About Murray: A newly-minted Republican—he was a Democrat six months ago—Murray is a St. Joe’s Prep grad who works as a sales manager for a storage company. He started the Friends of Coxe Park after spending time there with his kids and bemoaning how run down it was, then went on to become president of the Logan Square Neighbors Association. He says representing all of Philadelphia on City Council is the logical next step to his civic engagement.

Campaign Issue: Creating a more business-friendly environment through changes to the tax code as a way to spur job growth, ending sanctuary cities, working to end the soda tax—while still maintaining Rebuild and universal pre-K efforts.

“In this challenging and sometimes toxic political environment, leadership and a moral compass are paramount to our country, our state and the city of Philadelphia,” Murray says. “I offer a Republican view that will provide a balance of perspective needed in Philadelphia’s City Council.”

Money in Campaign Coffer: $5,860

Endorsements: RePoint; Log Cabin Republicans; the Inquirer.

Find out more about the candidate here and here.

David Oh, incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Oh: Oh was the first Asian American member of Council when he was elected in 2012 as one of two Republicans on the body.  A veteran, he’s passionate about legislation that benefits vets and first responders. He has also been an advocate for small businesses, creating the Philly Neighborhood Small Business Council. At times, Oh has been accused of commandeering Council for hearings related to issues he himself is facing—as when he put the city’s child welfare system under inspection after he was falsely accused of child abuse when his son was injured in a martial arts lesson.

Money in Campaign Coffer: $143,000

Endorsements: N/A

Find out more about the candidate here, here, and here.

Al Taubenberger, incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Taubenberger: A first-term Councilmember, Taubenberger serves on more committees than any other member. Before joining Council in 2016, he was the chair of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Taubenberger wants to increase education funding, support local businesses, stop raising property taxes, and improve infrastructure.

“Our city can’t succeed unless Philadelphia businesses succeed. I am going to do everything I can as Councilman At-Large to grow our local economy and provide good paying jobs to all Philadelphians,” he said.

Money in Campaign Coffer: $60,639

Endorsements: Teamsters Local 830, Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union IAFF Local #22

Find out more about the candidate here.

Daniel Tinney

About Tinney: A Philly native and Northeast resident, Tinney also ran for Council in 2015, when he drew some attention for mailers advocating for the City to start working more closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has a business degree, and has a background in financial planning; now he works with the Steamfitters Union. Tinney, who has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, has campaigned against District Attorney Larry Krasner pushing “liberal policies over public safety.”

“Dan looks at things like the normal person he is…not a politician. He knows City government doesn’t work for taxpayers. He knows there’s too much corruption and too many backroom deals. And he knows we can do better,” Tinney’s campaign website says.

Campaign issues: Fiscal management, ending corruption, ending Sanctuary City policies, improved public safety.

Money in campaign coffer: $120,600

Endorsements: State Rep. Martina White; Fraternal Order of Police; Philly GOP; the Inquirer.

Learn more about the candidate here.

District Candidates


District 1: Mark Squilla, incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Squilla: Squilla has represented the district that stretches from South Philly, through parts of Center City to Port Richmond, since 2011. A longtime community activist and Democratic party leader, he worked for 25 years for the state Auditor General’s office. Squilla, known for his robust constituent services—including generous contributions from campaign and discretionary funds to organizations in his district—is one of the most prolific contributors of vacant land to the city’s Land Bank. Recently, he proposed legislation that would scuttle a proposed safe injection site in Kensington. He has also attempted—with mixed results—to push through lifestyle changes, such as making bathrooms gender neutral, putting restrictions on music venues and banning paper bags.

Money in campaign coffer: $164,000

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee

Find out more about the candidate here. 

District 1: Lou Lanni

About Lanni: A former Philadelphia police officer, and former Republican who ran for City Council in 2015, Lanni is now a realtor in Center City. His campaign slogan is “No Tax Increases.”

Campaign issue: His platform addresses increasing jobs, halting the increase in real estate taxes, fixing schools, connecting poverty to crime—and taking on the Parking Authority.

“In my lifetime, I have watched a once great city, where anyone who wanted a job could get one to slowly become a place where almost nothing is made any longer, the streets are dirty, and violence is with us on a daily basis. Most of all, the people in charge, in spite of their remarks about how well we are doing, are completely oblivious to what is plainly obvious to the rest of us,” Lanni says on his website.

Money in campaign coffer: $450

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 2: Kenyatta Johnson, incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Johnson: Johnson, a former State Rep and founder of anti-violence group Peace Not Guns, has represented the 2nd District—encompassing parts of Center City and South Philly from Southwest through Point Breeze and the Airport—since 2012. Raised in Point Breeze, his campaign slogan is “From Here. For Here.”—a dig at his opponent, who has been involved in the civic association for Graduate Hospital, a heavily-gentrified neighborhood. On Council, he has spearheaded efforts expand tax relief programs for longtime homeowners, and to raise the minimum wage for airport workers. He has, throughout his tenure, also faced criticism—and legal battles—over vacant land sales in his district, including two in the last year that he directed to a friend.

I want to make sure everyone shares equally in the opportunities we’re creating in this city, and I want to make sure we’re giving the next generation of Philadelphians a chance to succeed and make positive, healthy choices,” Johnson says.

Money in campaign coffer: $520,790

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; 2nd Ward; 8th Ward

You can learn more about the candidate here.

District 2: Lauren Vidas


About Vidas: As an aide to former City Councilman Bill Green, Vidas sued Mayor Nutter for his plan to close library branches. Then, Nutter hired her in his finance department, where she helped to usher in ethics reform.  In recent years, Vidas (part of the Citizen’s New Blood series) has worked as a lobbyist (for the soda industry, among others), and been active in her South of South Neighborhood Association, in Graduate Hospital, one of the richest neighborhoods in the city. She would be the first openly LGBT councilmember if elected.

Campaign issues: Vidas sees herself as a reformer, with her sights set on cleaning up City Hall. She has taken aim at Councilmanic Prerogative, which Johnson vociferously supports, and favors term limits for Councilmembers. Her platform includes increasing the quality and quantity of jobs in Philly, cleaner neighborhoods, better schools and more accountability.

“People have seen their taxes go up, and yet they feel like city services are slipping,” Vidas told The Citizen this year. “Our streets are a total mess and, if one person calls out sick, a library branch shuts down. Don’t get me wrong—we still have that ‘Philly Shrug,’ but I really think that, for the first time, people are connecting the sweetheart insider deals with the service they’re getting, and they know it’s not right.”

Money in campaign coffer: $68,450

Endorsements: 5th Square; LGBT Victory Fund;Philadelphia NOW; Philly Set Go

Learn more about the candidate here and here

District 3: Jannie Blackwell, incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Blackwell: Blackwell has represented her West Philly district since 1992, when she took over the seat from her husband, Lucien, which means a Blackwell has held the post for 45 years. That’s an incredible legacy even in a town with no term limits and littler voter attention. She is lauded for her efforts on education and affordable housing. Blackwell is known for her old school politics, hosting community events to interact and hear from constituents, but also making behind-the-scenes deals, like halting the sale of the Provident Mutual Building, apparently to benefit a particular developer.

Money in campaign coffer: $52,600

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee, several Democratic party leaders

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 3: Jamie Gauthier

About Gauthier: The former executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Sustainable Business Network, Gauthier is first real challenger to Blackwell in a decade. She was one of the driving forces behind Council adopting a tax credit for businesses, like B Corps, that extend their mission to a triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profits; and she raised millions for the park system. Part of The Citizen New Blood series, Gauthier would bring an environmental focus to Council.

Campaign issues: Tackling gentrification, poverty and climate change

“I’m running because we can do a much better job in the District and across the city empowering people in communities by connecting them to opportunity. My whole career has been about connecting people to opportunity, and City Council is a way to do that on a bigger scale,” Gauthier told The Citizen. 

Endorsements: Conservation Voters of PA, Second Generation PAC, Philadelphia 3.0, 5th Square, Philly Set Go, Ascend, and RePoint

Learn more about the candidate here and here. 

District 4: Curtis Jones, Jr., incumbent

Photo: City Council

About Jones: The third term Councilman represents parts of West and Northwest Philadelphia, where he grew up. He claims among his biggest accomplishments on Council legislation that led to the charter change to make the Commission on African American Males a permanent city department, amendments to the “Ban the Box” legislation that prevents employers from asking about criminal background, and a bill that gives police officers discretion to let offenders go with a warning for minor issues.

“Working together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things,” he says in his newsletter.   

Money in campaign coffer: $93,400

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee; Black Clergy of Philadelphia; RePoint; several unions, including PFT

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 4: Ron Adams

Photo: Ron Adams

About Adams: Adams is operations manager for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a program that helps coordinate different law enforcement agencies to target drug trafficking. Through this work, Adams has seen the way communities can come together through shared interests—something he wants to bring to the disparate communities in the 4th District.

Campaign issues: Fighting poverty through technical education and job growth, community-directed development, citywide efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, fixing school buildings and reviewing taxes with an eye to lowering them.

“Bottom line, I feel it’s about time Philly gets serious about reducing poverty!” Adams says.

Money in campaign coffer: $13, 400

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 5: Darrell Clarke, incumbent, unopposed

About Clarke: Clarke has represented the district—encompassing some of Philly’s poorest neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, and some of its richest in Center City—since 1999, when John Street became Mayor of Philadelphia. As Council President since 2012, he is the most powerful politician in the city, and has not had a challenger since 2011. (Omar Woodard failed to get enough signatures to get on the ballot this year). Clarke has pushed for housing reforms to help low income residents, was critical in establishing the Land Bank and the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and has at times curbed Mayor Kenney’s propensity for raising taxes. He also has the ability to stand in the way of change, as when he refused to schedule hearings in 2015 on the possible sale of Philadelphia Gas Works, which could have brought $1.8 billion to the city.

Money in campaign coffer: $164,780

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 6: Bobby Henon, incumbent, unopposed

Photo: Wikipedia

About Henon: Henon, a friend and employee of Electricians Union chief John Dougherty, has represented his Northeast district since 2012. This year, he was indicted for using his office to do Dougherty’s bidding, including sending Licenses + Inspections to put a halt on the non-union installation of a diagnostic machine at Children’s Hospital. He has said he will not step down, and no one is challenging him.

Money in campaign coffer: $122,430

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 7: Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, incumbent

Photo: Facebook

About Quiñones-Sánchez: Quiñones-Sánchez has represented the poorest district in the city, in North Philadelphia, since 2008, when she became the first Latina to serve as a District councilperson. A controversial figure, she has won every race without the backing of the Democratic Party—making her the rare incumbent who has never been part of the Democratic machine. A vocal proponent of Councilmanic Prerogative, Quiñones-Sánchez also helped create the city’s Land Bank. Despite the bottling plants in her district, she voted against the soda tax (and is working to repeal it). She has sponsored legislation to reduce taxes for small businesses, and help poor residents with their bills. Her district is the center of the opioid epidemic, and she has continuously tussled with Mayor Kenney over what she sees as a slow City response to the crisis.

Money in campaign coffer: $160,260

Endorsements: Several individual politicians, including members of Council; several unions, including AFSCME District Council 33; Campaign for Working Families; Liberty City Democratic Club; One Pennsylvania; Philadelphia 3.0; Philadelphia NOW.

Learn more about the candidate here.

District 7: Ángel Cruz

Photo: Facebook

About Cruz: Cruz already holds office in North Philly: He has been the State Rep. for the 170th District since 2000. He is now taking on Quiñones-Sánchez with the support of the Democratic Party in a contentious and mudslinging race. Cruz started his political career as an aide to former Councilman Rick Mariano (about a decade before Mariano went to prison for selling his office), and much of his most recent work in the legislature has focused on the issue of opioids—something that plagues his district. He has said that Quiñones-Sánchez alienates other leaders in the district who might help solve neighborhood problems; for his part, he told the Inquirer this week that he has promised jobs to every ward leader in the district.

Campaign issues: Constituent issues, like trash, safety and the opioid epidemic

“I want to clean, secure and rebuild our neighborhoods, and make sure that hte people that we respect them we ask them for their vote,” he told PhillyCam.

Money in campaign coffer: $7,449

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee, a majority of the 7th District ward leaders

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 8: Cindy Bass, incumbent, unopposed

Photo: City Council

About Bass: Bass is a two-term Councilperson in Northwest Philadelphia who has focused many of her efforts on quality of life issues, like trash, park and library access and community building. Her motto—“We Are the Office of YES”—is an invitation for constituents to call for assistance on issues in their communities.

Money in campaign coffer: $5,600

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 9: Cherelle Parker, incumbent, unopposed

Photo: City Council

About Parker: Parker, a first term Councilwoman in the Northwest and Northeast, was previously a state rep—the youngest African-American  woman elected in state history. On Council, she has worked on housing and development policies to benefit low-income residents and on policies to help small businesses in the city.

Money in campaign coffer: $122,700

Endorsements: Democratic City Committee

Learn more about the candidate here. 

District 10: Judy Moore, unopposed

Photo: Facebook

About Moore: Chief Strategy Officer for Garces events catering group, Moore entered the race to challenge to sitting Northeast Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill, who was first elected in 1979—the year she was born. Moore, who was inspired to become civically engaged after the Democratic National Convention in Philly, is a 2017 graduate of Emerge PA, an organization that provides training for women running for political office. Moore was a small business owner, the child of a mother who struggled with substance abuse, and is the wife of a Philly cop—all experiences she says has shaped her policies.

Campaign issues: Moore’s platform addresses tools and training for police, funding for public schools, government accountability and better treatment options for those addicted to opioids.

Money in campaign coffer: $8,900

Endorsements: Philadelphia 3.0; Democratic City Committee

Learn more about the candidate here. 


District 1: Daniel Orsino, unopposed

About Orsino: Orsino will likely face incumbent Mark Squilla in the general election, but is unopposed in the primary. A Millenial factory worker and LGBT candidate, he says he wants to bring more of those voices to City Council.

Campaign issues: Tackling poverty, school reform and the AIDS/HIV crisis.

“I care about people. I’m just tired of people getting stepped on,” Orsino told the Philadelphia Gay News. “I’m tired of seeing the same rich people, both political parties, doing the same thing over and over. The whole reason I’m doing this is because I want to help people like myself.”

Money in campaign coffer: $225

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here.

District 2: Michael Bradley, unopposed

Money in campaign coffer: $30

District 6: Pete Smith, unopposed

Photo: Facebook

About Smith: It’s not exactly true that indicted City Councilman Bobby Henon has no challenger for his Northeast district seat. He will in the general election. Smith, former president of the Tacony Civic Association, formed the Northeast Philly Block Captain Coalition. He is the sole Republican vying for the seat.

Campaign issues: Unlike most candidates, Smith thinks the public school budget is too high; he supports the expansion of charter schools, with better oversight. He wants to repeal the soda tax, Philly’s Sanctuary City status, and end its plan to open a safe injection site.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes,” Smith says on his website.

Money in campaign coffer: $387


Learn more about the candidate here and here. 

District 10: Brian O’Neill, incumbent, unopposed

Photo: Twitter

About O’Neill: O’Neill, the minority leader on Council, is more or less a lifer: He’s serving his 10th term representing the Northeast neighborhoods of Bustleton, Somerton, Pennypack and Parkwood.

He is past president of the National League of Cities and the Pennsylvania Municipal League.

Money in campaign coffer: $480,820

Endorsements: N/A

Learn more about the candidate here.

Alyssa Biederman contributed reporting to this guide.

Photo by Syra Ortiz-Blanes

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